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Full text of "Auguste Rodin"

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(A S'xo^i.z.sjo 



HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




TRANSFERRED TC I 
nNE ARTS LIBRAIJY 
FROM THE BEQUEST OF 

CHARLES SUMNER 
cxAss or 1830 

Senator from Massadtusetts 

FOR BOOKS SHLAT1N6 TO 
POUnCS AND HNB ABIS 




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AUGUSTE RODIN 

By RAINER MARIA RIUCE 



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Bjrdie same audwr 

POEMS 

Translated by JesnelLemoDt 

With an bbodudion by R T. 



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Photographed by Gertrude Kasebitr 



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^ 



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Cop9righi 1919, hJtaait Lemoni 

AU Hgkii 9t»tf9eJ 

PMiMhedJune, 1919 




^y^-U^^/LC.^ /C^-^Kv-i^ 






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ARCHAIC TORSO OF APOLLO 

We cannot f adiom his mysterious head, 

Throui^ die veiled eyes no flickering ray is s«t; 

But from his torso gleaming light is shed 

As from a candelabrum; inward bent 

His {Jance there glows and lingers. Otherwise 

The round breast would not blind you with its grace. 

Nor could die soft-<:urved circle of the thighs 

Steal to the arc whence issues a new race. 

Nor could this stark and stunted stone display 

Vibrance beneath the shoulders* heavy bar. 

Nor shine like fur upon a beast of prey. 

Nor break forth from its lines like a great star — 

Elach spot is like an eye that fixed aa you 

With kindling magic makes you live anew. 

Rainer Maria Rilke. 

Rendered into English b^ Jessie Lemant 



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PREFACE 

R(X>IN has pronounced Rilke*s essay the supreme in- 
terpretation of his work. A few years ago die sculptor 
expressed to the translators the widi that some day the 
book wifjtA be placed before the English-speaking pub- 
lic. The appreciation was published originally as one 
of a series of Art Monographs under the editorship of 
the late Richard Muther. 

To estimate and interpret the work of an artist is 
to be creatively just to him. For this reason there 
are fewer critics than there are artists, and criticism 
with but few exceptions is almost invariably neg^gible 
and futile. 

The strongest and most procreant contact is that 
which takes place between two creative minds. This 
book of Rilke on Rodin is the fruit of such a contact 
It ripened on the tree of a great friendship for the 
master. For a number of years Rilke lived close to 
Rodin at 77 rue de Varenne, in the old mansion sur- 
rounded by a beautiful park which was subsequendy 
dedicated to France by the artist and is now the Musee 
de Rodin. Here the young poet shared the life of the 
aged sculptor and his most silent hours. 

Rodin felt that Rilke approached his sculptures 
from the same imaginative sphere whence his own 



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creative impulse ^rang; he knew that in the pelludd 
and illuminating realm of the poetic his wcnrks found 
dieir ^iritual home as their material manifestation 
partook of the atmoq>here when placed under the open 
sky, given wholly to the sun and wind and rain. 

H. T. 

NEW YORK cmr. 

SPRING. 1919. 



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AUGUSTE RODIN 

** Writers tpork through tpords — Sculptors through 
matter.** — Pomponius Gauricus in his essay^ **De 
Sculptura* (about 1504). 

**The hero is he rpho is immovably centred.** — 
Emerson. 

Rodin was solitary before fame came to him and 
afterward he became, perhaps, still more solitary. For 
fame is ultimately but the summary of all misunder- 
standings that crystallize about a new name. 

Rodin*s message and its significance are little under- 
stood by the many men who gathered about him. It 
would be a long and weary task to enlie^ten them; 
nor is this necessary, for they assembled about the 
name, not about the work, — a work that has grovm 
far beyond this name's sound and limitations, and that 
has become nameless as a plain is nameless or a sea 
that has a name but on the map, in books, and to 
men, but which is, in reality, but distance, movement 
and depth. 

The work that is to be qx>ken of in these pages 
developed through long years. It has grown like a 
forest and has not lost one hour. One walks among 

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these thousand fcmns overwhehned with the imagina- 
tion and die craftsmanship which they represent, and 
involuntarily one looks for the two hands out of whidh 
this world has risen. One diinks of how small man's 
hands are, how soon they tire, and how little time is 
given them to move. And one longs to see these hands 
that have lived like a hundred hands; like a nation of 
hands that rose before sunrise for the accon4>lishment 
of this work. One asks for the man who directs these 
hands. Who is this man? 

He is a man rich in years: and his life is one that 
cannot be related. It began and still continues; 
stretches out deeply into a great age, and to us, it 
seems as though it had passed many hundreds of years 
ago. It perhaps had a childhood; a childhood in 
poverty — dark, groping and uncertain. And maybe 
it possesses this childhood still, for, says Sl Augustine 
somewhere, whither should it have gone? It holds, 
perchance, all its past hours, the hours of expectation 
and abandonment, the hours of doubt and the long 
hours of need. It is a life diat has lost nodbing and 
has forgotten nothing; a life that has absorbed all 
things as it passed, for only out of such a life as this, 
we believe, could have risen such fulness and abun* 
dance of work; only such a life as this, in which 

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everything is simultaneous and awake, in which noth- 
ing passes unnoticed, could remain young and strong 
and rise again and again to high creations. Perchance 
the time will come ^en someone will picture this 
life, its details, its episodes and its conflicts. Some- 
one will tell a ^ory of a child that often forgot 
to eat because it seemed more important to him to 
carve inferior wood with a dieap knife, and someone 
wiU relate some event of the days of early manhood 
that contained promise ,of future greatness— one of 
those incidents that are intimate and prophetic 

Perhaps some such thought as that %^ch, five hun- 
dred years ago, a monk expressed to young Michel 
Colombe, may have suggested itself to Rodin on one 
of the crossways, at the beginning of his work: **Tra- 
vaille, petit, regarde tout ton saoul et le clocher ä jour 
de Saint Pol, et les belles oeuvres des con4>aign<Hi8, 
regarde, aime le bon E)ieu, et tu auras la grace des 
grandes choses/* "And thou wilt have the grace of 
the great things/* For it was just that which Rodin 
was seeking: the grace of the great things. 

The galleries of the Louvre revealed to the young 
artist radiant visions of the antique world; visions of 
southern skies, and of the sea, and far beyond rose 
heavy stone mommients, reaching over from imme- 

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morial civilizations into times not yet existent. There 
were stones that lay as if asleep but that held a sug- 
gestion that they would awake on some last judgment 
day, stones on which there was nothing mortal. There 
were others that bore a movement, a gesture that had 
remained as fresh as though it had been caught there 
in order to be given to some child that was passing by. 

Not alone in the great works and in these monu- 
ments was this vitality alive : the unnoticed, the small, 
the concealed, were not less filled with this deep inward 
excitement, with this rich and surprising unrest of liv- 
ing things. Even stillness, where there was stillness, 
consisted of hundreds and hundreds of moments of 
motion that kept their equilibriimi. 

There were small figures, animals particularly, that 
moved, stretched or curled; and althoue^ a bird 
perched quietly, it contained the element of flight. A 
sky grew back of it and hung about it; the far distance 
was folded down on each of its feathers, and should 
these feathers spread out like wings, the wide expanse 
of them would be quite great. There was stillness in 
the stimted animals that stood to support the cornices 
of the cathedrals or cowered and cringed beneath the 
consoles, too inert to bear the weight; and there were 
dogs and squirrels, wood-peckers and lizards, tortoises, 

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rats and snakes. At least one of each kind; these 
creatures seemed to have been caught in the open, in 
the forest and on roads, and the compul»on to live 
under stone tendrils, flowers and leaves must have 
changed them slowly into what they were now and 
were to remain forever. But other animals could be 
found that were bom in this petrified environment, 
without remembrance of a former existence. Th^ 
were entirely the natives of this erect, ri«ng, steeply 
ascending world. Over skeleton^hke arches they stood 
in their fanatic meagemess, with mouths open, like 
those of pigeons; shrieking, for the nearness of the 
bells had destroyed their hearing. They did not bear 
their weie^t where they stood, but stretched them- 
selves and thus helped the stones to rise. The bird- 
like ones were perched hie^ up on the balustrades, as 
though they were on the way to other climes, and 
wanted but to rest a few centuries and look down 
upon the growing city. Others in the forms of dogs ] 
were suspended horizontally from the eaves, hie^ up i 
in the air, ready to throw the rainwater out of didir / 
jaws that were swollen from vomiting. All had trans- 1 
formed and accommodated themselves to this environ- i 
ment; they had lost nothmg of life. On the contrary,^ 
they lived more strongly and more vehemently — ^lived 

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forever the fervent an J impetuous life of die time that 
had created them« 

And whosoever saw these figures felt diat they were 
not bom out of a whim nor out of a playful attempt 
to find forms unheard of before* Necessity had cre- 
ated diem. Out of die fear of invisible doomsda]rs of 
a hard faith men had freed themselves by these visible 
diings; from uncertainty men had taken refuge in thb 
reality. They souj^t God no more by mventing images 
of Him or by trying to conceive the Much-too-far-One; 
but th^ evinced their piety by carrying all fear and 
poverty, all anxiety and all pleading of the lowly into 
His house. : This was better dian to paint; for painting 
was a delusicm, a beautiful and skillful decq>tion. 
Men were longing for die more real and smv>le. Thus 
\ originated the strange sculpture of the cadiedrals, this 
cros»-breed of the heavy laden and of die animals. 

As the young artist looked from die plastic art of 
the Middle Ages, back to die Antique, and again be- 
yond the Antique into die beginnings of untold pasts, 
did it not seem as diou^^ the human soul had longed 
again and again throue^ die brie^t and dark periods 
of history, for this art ^ch eq>ressed more than word 
and painting, more than picture and symbol; diis art 

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yAiidk is the humble materialization of mankind's hope$ 
and fears? 

At the end of the Renaissance there was the flower^ 
ing of a great plastic art; at that time when life re-* 
newed itself, when there was a reveahnent of the secret 
of faces, and a great vital movement was in the state 
of growth. 

And now? Had not a time come again that was 
urging toward this expression — ^dus strong and im- 
pressive exposition of what was unopressed, confused, 
unrevealed? The arts somehow had renewed them- 
selves, zeal and expectation filled and animated them. 
But perhaps this art, the plastic art that still hesitated 
in the fear of a great past, was to be called upon to 
find that which the others sought gropingly and long- 
mgly. Ulis art was to help a time whose misfortune 
was that all its conflicts lay in the invisible. 

The language of this art was the body. And this 
body — ^when had one last seen it? 

Strata after strata of costumes were piled over it 
like an ever renewed vamidi; but under this protecting 
crust die growing soul had changed it; and this grow- 
ing soul worked breathlessly at remodeling the expres- 
sion of the faces. The body had become a different 
one. Were it now unveiled, it would perhaps reveal 

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the iii4>riiit of a thousand new expressions as well as 
the stamp of those old mysteries that, rising from die 
unconscious, reared dieir dripping heads like strange 
river-gods out of the singing blood. And this body 
could not be less beautiful than that of the Antique. 
It must be of a still higher beauty. For two thou- 
sand years life had held this body in its hands and 
had moulded it, had forged it, now listening, now ham- 
mering, nis^t and day. The art of painting dreamed 
of tills body, adorned it with light and illummed it 
with twilight, surrounded it with all softness and all 
delifi^t; touched it like a petal, and in turn was 8wq>t 
by it as by a wave. But plastic art, to which it in 
truth belonged, as yet of this body knew nothing. 

Here was a task as great as the world. And he 
who stood before it and beheld it was unknown and 
struggling under the necessity of earning his bread. 
He was qmte alone and if he had been a real dreamer, 
he would have dreamed a beautiful and deep dream — 
a dream that no one would have understood — one of 
those long, long dreams in which a life could pass like 
a day. But this young man who worked in the fac- 
tory at Sevres was a dreamer whose dream rose in 
his hands and he began immediately its realization. He 
sensed where he had to begin. A quietude which was 

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in him showed him the wise road. Here already 
Rodin's deep harmony with Nature revealed itself; 
that harmony which the poet George Rodenbach calls 
an elemental power. And, indeed» it is an miderlying 
patience in Rodin which renders him so great, a silent, 
superior forbearance resembling the wonderful patience 
and kindness of Nature that begins creation with a 
trifle in order to proceed silently and steadily toward 
abundant consummation. Rodin did not presume to 
create the tree in its full growth. He began widi the 
seed beneath the earth, as it were. And this seed 
grew downward, sunk deep its roots and anchored 
them before it began to shoot upward in the form of a 
young sprout. This required time, time diat lengthened 
into years. *'One must not hurry,** said Rodin to 
the few friends who gathered about him, in answer to 
their urgence. 

At that time the war came and Rodin went to 
Brussels. He modeled some figures for private houses 
and several of the groups on the top of the Bourse, 
and also the four large corner figures on the monument 
erected to Loos, City-mayor in the Pare d*Anvers. 
These were orders v^ich he carried out conscientiously, 
without allowing his growmg personality to speak. His 
real development took place outside of all this; it was 



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compressed into the free hours of the evening and un- 
folded itself in the solitary stillness of the nights; and 
he had to bear this diviaon of his energy for years. 
He possessed the quiet perseverance of men v^o are 
necessary, the strength of diose for v^om a great work 
is waitmg. 

While he was working on the Elxchange of Brus- 
sels, he may have felt that there were no more build- 
ings which admitted of die worth of sculpture as the 
cathedrals had done, those great magnets of plastic 
art of past times. Sculpture was a separate thing, as 
was the easel picture, but it did not require a wall Hke 
the picture. It did not even need a roof. It was an 
object that could exist for itself alone, and it was well 
to give it entirely the character of a con4>lete diing 
about which one could walk, and which one could look 
at from all sides. And yet it had to distinguish itself 
somehow from odier things, the ordinary things which 
everyone could touch. It had to become unimpeach- 
able, sacrosanct, separated from chance and time 
through which it rose isolated and miraculous, like the 
face of a seer. It had to be given its own certain 
place, in which no arbitrariness had placed it, and it 
must be intercalated in the silent continuance of space 
and its great laws. It had to be fitted into the space 



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that surrounded it, as into a niche; its certainty, steadi- 
ness and loftiness did not spring from its significance 
but from its harmonious adjustment to its environment. 

Rodin knew diat, first of all, sculpture depended 
upon an infallible knowledge of the human body. 
Slowly, searchingly, he had approached the surface 
of this body from which now a hand stretched out 
toward him, and the form, the gesture of this hand 
contained the semblance of the force withm the body. 
The farther he progressed on this remote road, the 
more chance r^nained behind, and one law led him 
on to another. And ultimately it was this surface 
toward which his search was directed. It consisted 
of infinitely many movements. The play of light upon 
these surfaces made manifest that each of these move- 
ments was different and each significant. At this point 
they seemed to flow into one another ; at that, to greet 
each other hesitatingly; at a third, to pass by each odier 
without recognition, like strangers. There were un- 
dulations without end. There was no point at which 
there was not life and movement. 

Rodin had now discovered the fundamental element 
of his art; as it were, the germ of his world. It was 
the surface, — ^this differently great surface, variedly ac- 
centuated, accurately measured, out of which cvery- 

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thing must rise» — which was from this moment the sub- 
ject matter of his art, the diing for which he labourecL 
for which he suffered and for ^^ch he was awake. 
1^ His art was not built upon a great idea, but upon 
\ a minute, conscientious realization, upon the attainable, 
I upon a craft. 

There was no haughtiness in him. He pledged him- 
self to a humble and difficult beauty that he could over- 
see, summon and direct The other beauty, the great 
beauty, had to come v^en ever}rthing was prepared, 
as animals come to a drinking-place in the forest in 
the late night when nothing foreign is there. 

With diis awakening Rodin*s most individual work 
began. Not until now had all the traditional concep- 
tions of plastic art become worthless to him. Pose, 
grouping, coiiq>osition now meant nothing to him. He 
saw only innumerable living surfaces, only Hfe. The 
means of expression which he had formed for himself 
were directed to and brou{^t forward this aliveness. 

The next task was to become master of himself and 
of his abundance. Rodin seized upon die life that 
was everywhere about him. He grasped it in its small* 
est details; he observed it and it followed him; he 
awaited it at the cross-roads wrhere it lingered; he over- 
took it as it ran before him, and he found it in all 

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places equally great» equally powerful and over^ehn-' 
ing. There was not one part of the human body 
that was insignificant or unimportant: it was alive. The 
life that was expressed in faces was easily readable. 
Life manifested in bodies was more dispersed, greater, 
more mysterious and more eternal. Here it did not 
disguise itself; it carried itself carelessly \Akere there , 
was carelessness and proudly with the proud. Reced- 
ing from the stage of the face it had taken otf its mask 
and concealed itself behind the scenes of garments. 
Here in the body Rodin found the world of his time 
as he had recognized the world of the Middle Ages 
in the cathedrals. A universe gathered about this 
veiled mystery — a world held togedier by an organism 
was adapted to this organism and made subject to it. 
Man had become church and there were thousands') 
and thousands of churches, none similar to the other / 
and each one alive. But the problem was to show 
diat they were all of One God. 

For years Rodin walked the roads of life searchingly 
and humbly as one vfho felt himself a beginner. No 
one knew of his struggles; he had no confidants and 
few friends. Behind the work that provided him with 
necessities his growing work hid itself awaitmg its 
time. He read a great deal. At this time he mie^t 

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have been seen in the streets of Brussels always with a 
book in his hand, but perhaps this book was but a pre- 
text for die absorption in himself, in die gigantic task 
diat lay before him. As with all creative people the 
feeling of having a great work before him was an in- 
citement, something diat augmented and concentrated 
his forces. And if doubts or uncertainties assailed him, 
or he was possessed of die great impatience of diose 
viho rise, or the fear of an early death, or the direat 
of daily want, all these influences foimd in him a quiet, 
erect renstance, a defiance, a strength and confidence — 
all die not-yet-unfurled flags of a great victory. 

Pediaps it was the past that in such moments came 
to his side, speaking in the voice of the cathedrals that 
he went to hear again and again. In books, too, he 
found many thoue^ts that gave him encouragement. 
He read for the first time Dante*s Divina G>m'^ia. 
It was a revelation. The suffering bodies of another 
generation passed before him. He gazed into a cen- 
tury the garments of which had been torn off; he saw 
the great and never-to-be-forgotten judgment of a poet 
on his age. There were pictures that justified him in 
his ideas; when he read about the weeping feet of 
Nicholas the Third, he realized diat there were such 
feet, diat there was a weeping which was everywhere, 

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over the whole of mankind, and there were tears that 
came from all pores. 

From Dante he came to Baudelaire. Here was no 
judgment, no poet, who, guided by the hand of a 
shadow, climbed to the heavens. A man who suffered 
had raised his voice, had lifted it hig^ above the heads 
of others as though to save them from perishing. In 
this poet*s verses there were passages, standing out ' 
prominently, that did not seem to have been written 
but moulded; words and groups of words that had ; 
melted under the glowing touch of the poet; lines that 1 
were like reliefs and sonnets that carried like columns ^ 
with interlaced capitals the burden of a cumulating 
thought. He felt dimly that this poetic art, where it 
ended abruptly, bordered on the beginning of another 
art and that it reached out toward this other art In } 
Baudelaire he felt the artist who had preceded him, who ( 
had not allowed himself to be deluded by faces but ) 
who sought bodies in which life was greater, more cruel | 
and more restless. 

After having read the works of these two poets they 
remained always near him, his thoughts went from them 
and yet returned to them again. At the time when 
his art took form and prepared itself for expression, 
when life as it presented itself before him had little ag- 

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nificance, Rodin dwdt in the books of the poets and 
i^eaned horn the past Later, when as a creator he 
again touched those reafans, their forms rose like mem- 
<»ies in his own life, aching and real, and altered into 
his work as thouf^ into a home. 

At last, after years of solitary labor he made the 
attempt at a st^ forward widi one of his creations. 
It was a question put before die public. The public 
answered negatively. And Rodin retired once more 
for thirteen years. These were the years during which 
he, still unknown, matured to a master and became the 
absolute ruler of his own medium, ever working, ever 
thinking, ever experimenting, uninfluoiced by the age 
that did not participate in him. Perhaps the fact that 
his entire develo[Hnent had taken place in this undis- 
turbed tranquility gave him later, when men disputed 
over the value of his work, that powerful certainty. 
At the moment when they began to doubt him, he 
doubted himself no longer, all uncertainty lay behind 
him. His fate depended no more upon the acclama- 
tion or the criticism of the people; it was decided at 
the time they thouf^t to crush it with mockery and 
hostility. During the period of his growth no strange 
voice sounded, no praise bewildered, no blame dis- 
turbed him. 



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As Parsifal grew so his art grew in purity alone 
with itself and with a great eternal Nature. Only his 
work spoke to him. It spoke to him in the morning 
when he awakened, and at even it sounded in his hands 
like an instrument that has been laid away. Hoice his 
work was so invincible. For it came to the world 
ripe, it did not appear as something unfinished that 
begged for justification. It came as a reality that had 
wrouf^t itself into existence, a reality which U^ which 
one must acknowledge. 

Like a monarch who, hearing that a city is to be 
built in his kingdom, meditates whether it would be 
well to grant the privilege, and hesitates; and finally 
goes forth to see the place and finds there a great pow- 
erful city which is finished, w^iich stands as thouf^ from 
eternity with walls, towers and gates, so the world 
came when ultimately called to the completed work of 
Rodin. 

This period of Rodin*s maturescence is limited by 
two works. At its beginning stands the head of ''The 
Man with the Broken Nose,** at its nd the figure of 
"The Man of the Primal Age.** "L*Homme au Nez 
Casse** was refused by the Salon in the year of 1 864. 
One comprdiends this rejection, for one feels that in 
this work Rodin*s art was mature, certain and per- 

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fected. Wiiik the inconnderateness of a great confes- 
sion it contradicted the requirements of academic 
beauty which were still the dominating standard. 

In vain Rude had given his Goddess of Rebellion on 
the top of the triumphal gate of the Place de T^toile 
that wild gesture and that far-reaching cry. In vain 
Barye had created his supple animals; and The Dance 
by Carpeaux was merely an object of mockery until 
finally it became so accustomed a sig^t that it was 
passed by unnoticed. 

The plastic art that was pursued was still that based 
upon models, poses and allegories; it held to the super- 
ficial, cheap and comfortable metier that was satisfied 
with the more or less skillful repetiticHi of some sanc- 
tified appeal. In this environment the head of **The 
Man with the Broken Nose** should have roused the 
storm that did not break out until the occasion of the 
exhibition of some later works of Rodin« But prob- 
ably it was returned almost unexamined as the work 
of some one unknown. 

Rodin*s motive in modeling this head, the head of 
an ageing, ugly man, whose broken nose even helped' 
to emphasize the tortured expression of the face, must 
have been the fulness of life that was cumulated in 
these features. There were no symmetrical planes in 

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this face at all, nothing repeated itself, no q)ot re- 
mained empty, dumb or indifferent. This face had 
not been touched by life, it had been permeated throuf^ 
and through with it as though an inexorable hand had 
thrust it into fate and held it there as in the lA^rlpool 
of a washing, gnawing torrent. 

When one holds and turns this mask in the hand, 
one is surprised at the continuous change of profiles, 
none of which is incidental, imagined or indefinite. 
There is on this head no line, no exaggeration, no 
contour that Rodin has not seen and willed. One feels 
that some of these wrinkles came early, others later, 
that between this and that deep furrow lie years, ter- 
rible years. One knows that some of the marks on 
this face were engraved slowly, hesitatingly, that others 
were traced gently and afterwards drawn in strongly 
by some habit or thou^^t that came again and again; 
one recognizes sharp lines that must have been cut 
in one night, as though picked by a bird in the worn 
forehead of a sleepless man. 

All these impressions are encompassed in the hard 
and intense life that rises out of this one face. As 
one lays down this mask one seems to stand on the 
hei^t of a tower and to look down upon the erring 
roads over which many nations have wandered. And 

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as one lifts it iq> again it becomes a thing that <me 
must call beautiful for the sake of its perfection. But 
this beauty is not the result of the incomparable tech- 
nique alone. It rises frcmi the feeling of balance and 
equilibrium in all these moving surfaces, from the 
knowledge that all these moments of emotion origmate 
and come to an end in the thing itself. If one is gripped 
by the many-voiced tortures of this face, immediately 
afterwards there comes the feeling that no accusation 
proceeds from it. It does not plead to the world; it 
seems to carry its justice within itself, to hold the recon- 
ciliation of all its contradictions and to possess a for- 
bearance great enough for all its burden. 

When Rodin created this mask he had bef (Mre him 
a man who sat quiet with a calm face. But the face 
was that of a living perscm and when he searched 
thronst it he saw that it was as full of motion, as full 
of unrest as the dashing of waves. In the course of 
the lines there was movement; there was movement in 
the contours of the surfaces; shadows stirred as in sleep 
and li^t seemed to softly touch the fordiead. Noth- 
ing possessed rest, not even death ; for decay, too, meant 
movement, dead matter still subject to life. Nature is 
all motion and an art that wished to give a faithful 
and conscientious interpretation of life could not make 

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rest, that did not exist, its ideal. In reality the An- 
tique did not hold such an ideal. One has only to 
think of the Nike. This piece of sculpture has not 
only brought down to us the movement of a beautiful 
maiden who goes to meet her lover, but it is at the 
same time an eternal picture of Hellenic wind in all 
its sweep and splendour. There was no quiet even in 
the stones of still older civilizations. The hieratically 
retained gesture of very ancient cults contained an un- 
rest of living surfaces like water within a vessel. There 
were currents in the taciturn gods that were sitting; 
and those that were standing commanded with a ges- 
ture that sprang like a fountain out from the stone and 
fell back again causing many ripples. 

This was not movement that opposed the intrinsic 
character of the sculpture. Only the movement that 
does not complete itself within the thing, that is not 
kept in balance by other movements, is that which ex- 
ceeds beyond the boundaries of sculpture. The plas- 
tic work of art resembles those cities of olden times 
where the life was spent entirely within the walls. The 
inhabitants did not cease to breathe, their life ran on; 
but nothing urged them beyond the limits of the walls 
that surrounded them, nothing pointed beyond the 
gates and no expectation opened a vista to the outer 

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world. However great the movement of a sculpture 
may be, diough it spring out of infinite distances» even 
from the depths of the sky, it must return to itself, the 
great circle must complete itself, the circle of solitude 
that encloses a work of art This was the law \^ch, 
unwritten, lived in the sculptures of times gone by. 
Rodin recognized it; he knew that that which gave 
distinction to a plastic work of art was its complete 
self-absorption. It must not demand nor expect au^^t 
from outside, it should refer to nodiing that lay beyond 
it, see nothing that was not within itself; its environ- 
ment must lie within its own boundaries. The sculptor 
Leonardo has given to Gioconda that unapproacfaable- 
ness, that movement that turns inward, that look which 
one cannot catch or meet. Probably his Francesco 
Sforza contained the same element, it carried a gesture 
which was like a proud envoy of state who returned 
after a completed commission. 

During the long years that passed between the mask 
of **The Man with the Broken Nose** and the figure 
of "The Man of Primal Times** many silent develop- 
ments took place in Rodin. New relations connected 
him more closely with the past of the art of sculpture, 
and the greatness of this past, which has been a restric- 
tion to so many, to him had become the wing that car- 

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ried him. For if he received during that tune an en- 
couragement and confirmation of that which he wished 
and sought« it came to him from the art of the antique 
world and from the dim mystery of the cathedrals. 
Men did not speak to him. Stones spoke. **The Man 
with the Broken Nose** had revealed how Rodin 
sought his way through a face. '*The Man of Primal 
Times** proved his unlimited supremacy over the body. 
**Souverain tailleur d*ymaiges** — this title, v^ch the 
masters of the Middle Ages bestowed on one another 
without envy and with serious valuation, should belong 
to him. 

Here was a life-sized figure in all parts of which life 
was equally powerful and seemed to have been ele- 
vated everywhere to the same height of expression. That 
which was expressed in the face» that pain of a heavy 
awakening, and at the same time the longing for that 
awakening, was written on the smallest part of this 
body. Every part was a mouth that spoke a language 
of its own. The most critical eye could not discover 
a spot on this figure that was the less alive, less definite 
and clear. It was as though strength rose into the veins 
of this man from the depths of the earth. This figure 
was like a silhouette of a tree that has the storms of 
March still before it and trembles because the fruit and 

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fulness of its summer lives no more in its roots, but 
is slowly rising to the trunk about \^ch the great winds 
will tear. 

The figure is significant in still another sense. It m- 
dicates in the work of Rodin the birth of gesture. That 
gesture which grew and developed to such greatness 
and power, here bursts forth like a spring that softly 
ripples over this body. It awakens in the darkness of 
primal times and in its growth seems to flow throuf^ the 
breadth of this work as thouf^ reaching out from by- 
gone centuries to those that are to come. Hesitatingly 
it unfolds itself in the lifted arms. These arms are 
still so heavy that the hand of one rests upon the top 
of the head. But this hand is roused from its sleep, 
it concentrates itself quite hig^ on the top of the brain 
where it lies solitary. It prepares for the work of cen- 
turies, a work that has no measure and no end. And 
the right foot stands expectant with a first stq>. 

One would say of this gesture that it is wrapped into 
a hard bud. In a thought's glow and a storm in will 
it unfolds itself and that **St. John** steps forth with 
excited, speaking arms and with the splendid step of 
one who feels Another follow him. The body of this 
man is not untested. Deserts have glowed through it, 
hunger has made it ache and all thirsts have tried it. 

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He has endured and has become hard. His lean, as^^ 
cetic body is like a forked piece of wood that encloses, 
as it were, the wide angle of his stride. He walks. ' 
... He walks as though all distances of the world 
were within him and he distributed them through his 
mi^ty step. He strides. . . . His arms speak of this 
step, his fingers spread and seem to make the »gn of 
striding in the air. 

t^ This **St. John** is the first that walks in the work 
of Rodin. Many follow. The citizens of Calais be- 
gin their heavy walk, and all walking seems to prepare 
for the mi^^ty, challenging step of Balzac. 

The gesture of the standing figure develops further. 
It withdraws into itself, it shrivels like burning paper, 
it becomes stronger, more concentrated, more animated. 
That Eve, that was originally to be placed over the 
Gates of Hell, stands with head sunk deeply into the 
shadow of the arms that draw together over the breast 
like those of a freezing woman. The back is rounded, 
the nape of the neck almost horizontal. She bends for- 
ward as though listening over her own body in which a 
new future begins to stir. And it is as thous^ the 
gravity of this future weighed upon the senses of the 
woman and drew her down from the freedom of life 
into the deep, humble service of motherhood. 

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Again and again in his figures Rodin returned to 
this bending inward» to diis intense listening to one*s 
own depth. This is seen in the wonderful figure which 
he has called '*La Meditation** and in that unmemora- 
ble **Voix Interieure/* the most siloit voice of Victor 
Hugo*s songs» that stands on the monument of the poet 
aln^ost hidden under the voice of wrath. Never was 
human body assembled to such an extent about its 
inner self, so bent by its own soul and yet upheld by 
the elastic strength of its blood. The neck» bent side^ 
wise on the lowered body» rises and stretches and holds 
the listening head over the distant roar of life; diis is 
so impres»vely and strongly conceived that one does 
not remember a more gripping gesture or one of deeper 
meaning. It is striking that the arms are lacking. 
Rodin must have considered these arms as too facile 
a solution of his task» as something that did not belong 
to that body which desired to be enwraK>^ within 
itself without the aid of au{^t external. When one 
looks upon diis figure one thinks of Duse in a drama 
of d*Annunzio*s» when die is painfully abandoned and 
tries to embrace without aims and to hold without 
hands. This scene» in which her body has learned a 
caressing that reaches beyond it» belongs to the unfor- 
gettable moments in her acting. It conveys the im- 

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pression that the arms are something siq)erfluous, an 
adornment, a thing of the rich, something immoderate 
that one can throw off in order to become quite poor. 
She appeared in diis moment as thou^^ she had for- 
feited something unimportant, rather like someone who 
gives away his cup in order to drink out of the brook. 

The same completeness is conveyed in all the arm- 
less statues of Rodin: nothing necessary is lacking. One 
stands before them as before something whole. The 
feeling of incompleteness does not rise from the mere 
aspect of a thing, but from the assumption of a narrow- 
minded pedantry, which says that arms are a necessary 
part of the body and that a body without arms cannot 
be perfect. It was not long since that rebellion arose 
' against the cutting off of trees from the edge of pictures 
by the Impressionists. Custom rapidly accepted this 
impression. AX^th regard to the painter, at least, came 
the understanding and die belief that an artistic whole 
need not necessarily coincide with the complete diing, 
that new values, proportions and balances may orig-^ 
inate within the pictures. In the art of sculpture, also, 
it is left to the artist to make out of many diings one 
thing, and from the smallest part of a thing an entirety. 

There are among the works of Rodin hands, single, 
small hands which, without belonging to a body, are 

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alive. Hands that rise, irritated and in wrath; hands 
whose five bristling fingers seem to bark like the five 
jaws of a dog of Hell. Hands that walk, sleeping 
hands, and hands that are awaking; criminal hands, 
tainted with hereditary disease; and hands that are 
tired and will do no more, and have lain down in some 
comer like sick animals that know no one can help 
them. But hands are a complicated organism, a delta 
into which many divergent streams of life rush together 
in order to pour themselves into the great storm of 
action. There is a history of hands; they have their 
own culture, their particular beauty; one omcedes to 
them the right of their own development, their own 
needs, feelings, caprices and tendernesses. Rodin, 
knowing through the education which he has given him- 
self that die entire body consists of scenes of life, of a 
life that may become in every detail individual and 
great, has the power to give to any part of this vibrat- 
ing surface the mdependence of a whole. As the hu- 
' man body is to Rodin an entirety only as long as a com- 
' mon action stirs all its parts and forces, so on the other 
hand portions of different bodies that cling to one an- 
other from an inner necessity merge into one organism. 
A hand laid on another's shoulder or thigh does not 
any more belong to the body from which it came, — 

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from this body and from the object which it touches or 
seizes something new originates, a new thing that has 
no name and belongs to no one. 

This comprehension is the foundation of the grouping 
of figures by Rodin; from it springs that coherence of 
the figures, that concentration of the forms, that qual- 
ity of clinging together. He does not proceed to work 
from figures that embrace one another. He has no 
models which he arranges and places together; he 
starts with the points of the strongest contact as being 
the culminating points of the work. There where 
something new arises, he begins and devotes all the 
capacity of his chisel to the mysterious phenomenon 
that accompanies the growth of a new thing. He 
works, as it were, by the Ug^t of the flame that flashes 
out from these points of contact, and sees only those 
parts of the body that are thus illuminated. 

The ^ell of the great group of the girl and the man 
that is named **The Kiss" lies in this understanding 
distribution of life. In this group waves flow through 
the bodies, a shuddering ripple, a thrill of strength, and 
a presaging of beauty. This is the reason why one 
beholds ever3rwhere on these bodies the ecstacy of this 
kiss. It is like a sun that rises and floods all with its 
light. 

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Still more marvelous is that other kiss **L*etemelle 
Idole/* The material texture of diis creation encloses 
a living impulse as a wall encloses a garden. One of 
the copies of this marble is in the possession of E^ugene 
Carriere, and in the silent twilie^t of his house this 
stone pulsates like a q>ring in v^ch there is an eternal 
motion, a rising and falling, a mysterious stir of an 
elemental force. A girl kneels, her beautiful body is 
softly bent backward, her rie^t arm is stretched behind 
her. Her hand has gropingly found her foot In 
these three lines which shut her in from the outer world 
her life lies enclosed with its secret. The stone beneadi 
her lifts her up as she kneels there. And suddenly, 
in the attitude into which the young girl has fallen' 
from idleness, or reverie, or solitude, one recognizes 
an ancient, sacred symbol, a posture like that into vibidk 
die goddess of distant, cruel cults had sunk. The head 
of this woman bends somewhat forward; with an ex- 
pression of indulgence, majesty and forbearance, she 
looks down as from the heie^t of a still rdf^t upon the 
man who sinks his face into her bosom as though into 
many blossoms. He, too, kneels, but deeper, de^ in 
the stone. His hands lie behind him like wordiless 
and empty things. The ri^^t hand is open; one sees 
into it. From this group radiates a mysterious great- 

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ness. One does not dare to give it one meaning» it 
has thousands. Thoughts glide over it like shadows, 
new meanings arise like riddles and unfold into clear 
significance. Something of the mood of a Purgatorio 
lives within this work. A heaven is near that has not 
yet been reached, a hell is near that has not yet been 
forgotten. Here, too, all splendour flakes from the 
contact of the two bodies and from the contact of 
the woman with herself. 

Another conception of the theme of the contact of 
living surfaces and moving planes is that stupendous 
**Porte de L*Enfer** on which Rodin has worked for 
twenty years and the final casting into bronze of v^ch 
is imminent. Advancing «multaneously in the pursuit 
of the import of the movements of planes and their 
points of confluence Rodin came to seek bodies that 
touched one another on many points, bodies whose 
movements were more vehement, stronger and more 
in4>etuous. The more mutual points of contact two 
bodies offered, the more impatiently they rushed upon 
each other like chemicals of close aflBnity. The tie^ter 
the new whole v^ch they formed held together, the 
more they became like one organism. 

From "The Gates of Hell** memories of Dante 
emerged. Ugolino; the wandering ones, Dante and 

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Virgil, close together; the throng of the voluptuous 
from among whom like a dried up tree rose die grac- 
ing gesture of the avaricious. The centaurs, the giants 
and monsters, the syrens, fauns and wives of fauns, 
all the wild and ravenous god-animals of the pre- 
Christian forest rose before him. He conjured all the 
forms of Dante*s dream as though from out the* stirring 
dq>ths of personal remembrance and gave them one 
after another the silent deliverance of material exist- 
ence. Hundreds of figures and groups were thus cre- 
ated. The visions of the poet who belonged to another 
age awakened the artist who made them rise again to 
the knowledge of a thousand other gestures; gestures 
of seizing, losing, suffering and abandoning, and his 
tireless hands stretched out farther and farther beyond 
the world of the Florentine to ever new forms and 
revelations. 

This earnest, self-centred worker who had never 
sought for material and who desired no other fulfilment 
than was attainable by the increasingly maturing mas- 
tery of his chisel thus penetrated through all the dramas 
of life. The depths of the nichts of love unfolded 
themselves to him and revealed the dark, sorrowful and 
blissful breadth of a realm like that of a still heroic 
world in which there were no garments, in which faces 

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were extingui^ed and bodies were supreme. With 
senses at white heat he sought life in the great chaos 
of this wrestling, and what he saw was Life. 

Life did not close in about him in sultry narrowness: 
the atmoq>here of the alcoves was far away. Here 
life became work ; a thousandfold life throbbed in every 
moment Here was loss and gain* madness and friert, 
longing and sorrow. Here was a desire that was im« 
measurable, a thirst so great that all the waters of 
the world dried up in it like a single drop. Here was 
no lying and den3äng, and here the joys of giving and 
taking were genuine and great. Here were the vices 
and blasphemies, the damnations and the beatitudes; 
and suddenly it became evident that a world was poor 
that concealed or buried all this life or pretended that 
it did not exist. // was! 

Alongside of the whole history of mankind was 
this other history that did not know disguises, conven- 
tions, differences or ranks, that only knew strife. This 
history, too, had its evolution. From an instinct it 
had become a longing, from a physical possessorship 
between man and woman it had become an uplifting 
desire of human being for human being. Thus this 
history appears in the work of Rodin; still the eternal 
struggle of the sexes, but the woman is no more the 

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overpowered or willing animal. She is longing and 
awake like the man, and both man and woman seem 
to have met in order to find their souls. The man who 
rises at nie^t and softly seeks another is like a treasure- 
seeker who wi^es to find on the crossroads of sex the 
great happiness. To discover in all lusts and crimes, 
in all trials and all despair, an infinite reason for exist- 
ence is a part of that great longing that creates poets. 
Here humanity hungers for somedimg beyond itself. 
Here hands stretch out for eternity. Here eyes open, 
see Death and do not fear him. Here a hopeless hero« 
ism reveals itself whose glory dawns and vanidies like 
a smile, blossoms and withers like a rose. Here are 
all the storms of desire and the calms of eiq>ectation. 
Here are dreams that become deeds and deeds that 
fade into dreams. Here, as at a gigantic gambling 
table, great fortunes are lost or won. 

Rodin*s work embodied all this. He who had seen 
so much life found here life's fulness and abundance: 
the body each part of which was will, the moudis, that 
had the form of cries which seemed to rise from the 
depths of the earth. He found the gestures of the an- 
cient gods, the beauty and suppleness of animals, die 
reeling of old dances, the movements of forgotten divine 
services, strangely combined with new gestures that 

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had originated during the long period in which art was 
alien and blind to all these relations. These new ges- 
tures were particularly interesting to him. They were 
impatient. As someone who seeks for an object for 
a long time becomes more and more helpless, confused, 
and hasty, and finally creates a disorder in an accumu- 
lation of things about him, so the gestures of mankind 
who cannot find reason for existence, have become more 
and more impatient, nervous and hurried. Man*s move- 
ments have become more hesitating. They have no 
more the athletic and resolute strength widi which for- 
mer men grappled all things. They do not resemble 
those movements that are preserved in ancient images, 
those gestures of vAddi only the first and the last were 
important. Between these two simple movements in- 
numerable transitions have been interpolated, and it is 
manifest that it is just in these intervening moments that 
the life of the man of to-day passes by; his action and 
his disability for action, the seizing, the holding, the 
abandoning has changed. In everything there is much 
more experience and at the same time more ignorance; 
there is despondency and a continuous attack against 
opposition; there is grief over things lost; there is cal- 
culation, judgment, consideration and less q)ontaneity. 
Rodin has discovered these gestures, has evolved 

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them out of one or several figures and moulded them 
into sculptural fonns. He has endowed hundreds and 
hundreds of figures that were only a little larger than 
his hand with the life of all passions, the blossoming 
of all delii^ts and the burden of all vices. He has 
created bodies ihat touch each other all over and cling 
together like animals bitten mto each other, that fall 
into the depdi of oneness like a single organism; bodies 
that listen like faces and lift themselves like arms; 
chains of bodies, garlands and tendrils and heavy clus- 
ters of bodies into which sm*s sweetness rises out of 
die roots of pain. Leonardo only with equal power 
has thus jomed men together in his grandiose repre- 
sentation of the end of the world. In his work as in 
this are those who throw themselves into the abyss in 
order to forget the great grief, and those who shatter 
their children's heads lest they ^ould grow to expe- 
rience the great woe. 

The army of these figures became much too numer- 
ous to fit into the frame and wings of the **Gates of 
Hell.*' Rodin made choice after choice and eliminated 
everything that was too solitary to subject itself to the 
great totality; everything that was not quite necessary 
was rejected. He made the figures and groups find 
their own places; he observed the life of the people 

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that he had created, Ustened to them and left every 
one to his will. Thus year after year the world of 
this gate grew. Its surface to which plastic forms were 
attached began to live. And as the reliefs became 
softer and softer the excitement of the figures died 
away into the surface. In the frame there is from 
both sides an ascension, a mutual uplifting; in the 
wings of the gates the predominating motion is a fall- 
ing, gliding and precipitating. The wings recede some- 
what and their upper edge is separated from the pro- 
jecting edge of the cross-frame by a large surface. Be- 
fore the silent, closed room of this surface is placed 
the figure of "The Thinker/* the man who realizes the 
greatness and terror of the spectacle about him, be- 
cause he thinks it. He sits absorbed and silent, heavy 
with thought: with all the strength of an acting man 
he thinks. His whole body has become head and all 
the blood in his veins has become brain. He occupies 
the center of the Gate. Above him, on the top of the 
frame, are three male figures; they stand with heads 
bent together as thou^^ overlooking a great depth; 
each stretches out an arm and points toward the abyss 
which drags Aem ever downward. The Thinker must 
bear this weicht within himself. 

Among the groups and figures that have been mod- 

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eled for this Gate are many of great beauty. It is 
impossible to enunerate all of them as it is impossible 
to describe them. Rodin himself once said that he 
would have to speak for one year in order to recreate 
one of his works in words. 

These small figures \^ch are preserved in plaster, 
huoaze and stone, like some animal figures of the An« 
tique, give the impression of bemg quite large. There 
is in Rodin's studio the cast of a panther, a Greek work 
hardly as large as a hand (the original of which is in 
the cabinet of Medallions in the National Library of 
Paris) ; as one stands in front of this beast and looks 
under its body into the room formed by the four strong, 
supple paws, one seems to look into the depth of an 
Indian stone temple. As this work grows and extends 
itself to the greatness of its suggestion, so the small 
plastic figures of Rodin convey the sense of largeness. 
By the play of innumerably many surfaces and by the 
perfect and decisive planes, he creates an effect of 
magnitude. The atmosphere about these figures is 
like that vAddi surrounds rocks. An upward sweep of 
lines seems to lift up die heavens, the fliegt of their 
fall to tear down the stars. 

At this time, perlu^s, the Qanaide was created, a 
figure that has thrown itself frcmi a kneeling position 

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down into a wealth of flowmg hair. It is wonderful 
to walk slowly about this marble, to follow the long 
line that curves about the richly unfolded roundness 
of the back to the face that loses itself in the stone 
as though m a great weeping, and to the hand v^ch 
like a broken flower speaks softly once more of Ufe 
diat Ues deq> under the eternal ice of the block. ^'Il- 
lusion/* the daughter of Icarus, is a luminous material- 
ization of a long, helpless fall. The beautiful gjroup 
that is called **L*homme et sa pensee** is the repre- 
sentation of a man v4io kneels and with the touch of 
his fordhead upon the stone before him awakens the 
silent form of a woman who remains imprisoned in the 
sbme. In this group one is impressed with the expres- 
sion of the inseparableness widi which die man's 
thoue^t clings to his forehead ; for it is his thoue^t diat 
lives and is always present before him, the thoue^t 
which takes shape in the stone. 

The work most nearly related to this in conception 
is the head diat musingly and silently frees itself from 
a block. **La Pensee** is a transcendent vision of 
life diat rises slowly out of the heavy sleep of the 
stone. 

"The Caryatid" is no more the erect figure that 
bears lightly or unyieldingly die heaviness of die mar- 
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ble. A woman's form kneels crouchmg, as though 
bent by die burden, the weie^t of which smks with a 
contmuous pressure into all the figure's limbs. Upon 
every smallest part of this body the whole stone lies 
like the insistence of a will that is greater, older and 
more powerful, a pressure, v^ch it is the fate of this 
body to continue to endure. The figure bears its bur- 
den as we bear the impossible in dreams from which 
we can find no escape. Even the sinking together of 
the failing figure expresses this pressure; and when a 
greater weariness forces the body down to a lying 
posture, it will even then still be under the pressure 
of diis weicht, bearing it without end. Such is the 
"Caryatid." 

One may always explain, accompany and surround 
Rodin's works with thou^^ts. For all to whom sim- 
ple contemplation is too di£Bcult and unaccustomed a 
road to beauty there are odier roads, detours leading 
to meanings that are noble, great, complete. The in- 
finite correctness of these creations, the perfect balance 
of all their movements, the wonderful inward justice 
of their proportions, their penetration into life — ^all 
that makes them beautiful — gives them the strength of 
being unsurpassable materializations of the ideas which 
the master called into being when he named them. 

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Ro(£n lived near his work and, like the custodian of 
a Museum, continuously evolved from it new mean- 
ings. One learns much from his interpretations but 
in the contemplation of these works, alone and undis- 
turbed, one gathers a still fuller and richer understand- 
ing of them» 

Where the first suggestion comes from some definite 
subject, where an ancient tale, a passage from a poem, 
an historical scene or some real person is the inspira- 
tion, the subject matter transforms itself more and more 
into reality during the process of die work. Translated 
into the language of the hands, the interpretations ac- 
quire entirely new characteristics which develop into 
plastic fulfilment. The drawings of Rodin prepare 
the way for the sculptural work by transforming and 
changing the suggestions. In this Art, too, Rodin has 
cultivated his own methods of expression. The indi- 
viduality of these drawings — there are many hundreds 
of diem — ^presents an independent and original mani- 
festation of his artistic personality. 

There are from an earlier period water colours widi 
surprisingly strong effects of li^^t and shade, such as 
die famous *'Homme au Taureau**, which reminds one 
of Rembrandt. The head of the young '*Sl Jean 
Baptiste** and the shrieking mask for the *'Genius of 

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War** — all diese are sketches and studies v^ch helped 
the artist to recognize the life of surfaces and their 
relation^p to the atmoqphere. There are drawings 
that are done with a direct certainty, forms complete 
m all their contours, drawn in with many quick strokes 
of the pen; there are others enclosed in die melody of 
a smgle vibratmg outline. Rodin, acceding to die 
wi^ of a collector, has illustrated with his drawings one 
copy of the **Fleurs du Mal.** To speak of es^ressing 
a fine understanding of Baudelaire's verses, conveys no 
meaning; more is conveyed if it is recalled that these 
poems in their fulness do not admit of supplement Yet 
in spite of this one feels an enhancement where Rodin*s 
lines interpret this work, such is die measure of the over- 
powering beauty of these drawings. The pen and mk 
drawing that is placed opposite the poem **La Mort 
des Pauvres** exceeds diese great verses with so simple 
and ever-growing a breaddi of meaning that the sweep 
of its Imes seems to include die universal. This quality 
of enhancement is also found in the dry-point etchings, 
in which die course of infinitely tender lines appears to 
flow with an absolute accuracy of movement over the 
underlying essence of form, like the outer markings of 
some beaudful crystalline thing. 

The strange documents of the momentary and of 

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the unnoticeably passing, originated at this time. Rodin 
assumed that if cau^^t quickly, the simple movements 
of the model when he believes himself unobserved, con- 
tain the strength of an expression which is not surmised, 
because one is not wont to follow it with intense and 
constant attention. By not permitting his eyes to leave 
the model for an instant, and by allowing his quick 
and trained hand free play over the drawing paper 
Rodin seized an enormous number of never before ob- k^ 
served and hitherto unrecorded gestures of which the | 
radiating force of expression was immense. Conjoin- f 
ing movements that had been overlooked and unrecog- il 
nized as a whole, represented and contained all the 
directness, force and warmth of animal Ufe. A brush 
full of ochre outlined the contours with quickly chang- 
ing accentuation, modeled the enclosed surface with 
such incredible «^force that the drawing appears like a 
figure in terra cotta. And again a new depdi was dis- 
covered full of unsurmised life; a depdi over which 
echoing steps had passed and which gave its waters 
only to him whose hands possessed the magic wand 
that disclosed its secret. 

In portraiture the pictorial expression of the theme 
belonged to the preparation from which Rodm pro- 
ceeded slowly to the completion of the work. For 

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erroneous as it is to see in Rodin's plastic art a kind 
of Impressionism, it is the multitude of precisely and 
boldly seized impressions that is always the great treas- 
ure from which he ultimately chooses the important 
and necessary, in order to comprehend his work m its 
perfect synthesis. As he proceeds from die bodies to 
the faces it must seem to him as thou^^ he stq>ped from 
a wind-swept distance into a room in v^ch many men 
are gathered. Here everything is crowded and dim 
and the mood of an interiiur predominates under the 
arches of the brow and in the shadows of the mouth. 
Over the bodies there is always change, an ebb and 
flood Uke the dashing of waves. The faces possess 
an atmosphere Hke that of rooms in which many things 
have happened, joyous and tragic Incidents, experiences 
deadening or full of expectation. No event has en- 
tirely passed, none has taken the place of the other, 
one has been placed beside the odier and has remained 
there and has withered like a flower in a glass. But 
he who comes from the open out of the great wind 
brings distance into the room. 

The mask of "The Man with the Broken Nose** 
was the first portrait that Rodin modeled. In this 
work his individual manner of portra3ring a face is ear 
tirely formed. One feels his admitted devotion to real«- 

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ity, his reverence for every line that fate has drawn, his 
confidence in life that creates even where it disfigures. 
In a kind of blind faith he sculptured **L*Honune au 
Nez Casse** without asking who the man was who 
lived again in his hands. He made diis mask as God 
created the first man» without intention of presenting 
anything save Life itself — ^immeasurable Life. But he 
returned to the faces of men with an ever-growing» 
richer and greater knowledge. He could not look 
upon their features without thinking of the days that 
had left their impress upon them, without dwelling 
upon the army of thous^ts that worked incessantly 
upon a face, as though it could never be finished. From 
a silent and conscientious observation of life, the ma- 
ture man, at first groping and experimenting, became 
more and more sure and audacious in his Understand^ 
ing and interpretation of the script with which the faces 
were covered. He did not give rein to his imagination, 
he did not invent, he did not neglect for a moment the 
hard struggle with his tools. It would have been easy 
to surmount, as if with wings, these difficulties. He 
walked side by ^de with his work over the far and dis^ 
tant stretches that had to be covered, like the plouc^- 
man behind his plough. While he traced his furrows, 
he meditated over his land, the depth of it, the sky 

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above it, the flisjhts of the winds and the fall of the 
rains; considered all that existed and passed by and 
returned and ceased not to be. He recognized in all 
this the eternal, and becoming less and less perplexed 
by the many things, he perceived the one great diing 
for which grief was good, and heaviness promised ma- 
ternity, and pain became beautiful. 

The interpretation of this perception began with the 
portraits, and from that time penetrated ever deeper into 
his work. It is the last step, the last cycle in his devel- 
opment. Rodin began slowly and with infinite pre- 
caution entered upon this new road. He advanced 
from surface to surface following Nature's laws. Na- 
ture herself pointed out to him, as it were, the places 
in which he saw more than was visible. He evolved 
one great simplification out of many confusions as 
Christ brous^t unity into the confusion of a guilty peo- 
ple by the revelation of a sublime parable. He ful- 
filled an intention of nature, completed something that 
was helpless in its growth. He disclosed the coher- 
ences as a clear evening following a misty day unveils 
the mountains which rise in great waves out of the far 
distance. 

Full of the vital abundance of his knowledge, he 
penetrated into the faces of those that lived about him, 

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like a prophet of the future. This intuitive quality 
gives to his portraits the clear accuracy and at the same 
time the prophetic greatness which rises to such inde* 
scribable perfection in the figures of Victor Hugo and 
of Balzac. To create an image meant to Rodin to seek 
eternity in a countenance, that part of eternity with 
which the face was allied in the great course of things 
eternal. Each face that he has modeled he has lifted 
out of the bondage of the present into the freedom of 
the future, as one holds a thing up toward the Us^t of 
the sky in order to understand its purer and »mpler 
forms. Rodin's conception of Art was not to beautify 
or to give a characteristic expression, but to sq>arate 
the lasting from the transitory, to sit in judgment, to be 
just. 

Beside the etchings, his portrait work embraces a 
great nmnber of finished and masterly drawings. There 
are busts in plaster, in bronze, in marble and in sand- 
stone, heads and masks in terra cotta. Portraits of 
women occur again and again through all the periods 
of his work. The famous bust of the Luxembourg is 
one of the earliest. This bust is full of individual life, 
of a certain beautiful, womanly chaim, but it is sur- 
passed in simplicity and concentration by many later 
works. It is, perhaps, the only bust which possesses 

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a beauty not absolutely characteristic of Rodm's vioA. 
This portrait survives partly because of a certain gra- 
dousness which has been hereditaiy for centuries in 
French plastic art It shines somewhat with the de* 
gance of the inferior sculptures of French tradition; 
it is not quite free irom that gallant concq>tion of the 
"belle fenune** beyond which the serious and the deeply 
penetrating work of Rodin grew so quickly. One 
Aould remember that he had to overoHne the ancestral 
concq>tiont had to 8iq>pres8 an inborn capacity for diis 
flowing grace in order to begin his work quite simply. 
He must not cease to be a Frenchman; the mastar build- 
ers of the cathedrals were also Frenchmen. 

His later sculptures of women have a different 
beauty» more deeply founded and less traditional. 
Rodin haSt for the most part, executed portraits of 
foreign women, especially American women. There 
are among these busts some of wonderful craftsman- 
diip, marbles that are like pure and perfect antique 
cameos. Faces whose smiles play softly over the fea- 
tures like veils that seem to rise and fall with every 
breath; strangely half-closed lips and eyes which seem 
to look dreamily into the briset effulgence of an ever- 
lasting moonlit ni{^t. To Rodin the face of a woman 
seems to be a part of her beautiful body. He con- 

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ceives the eyes of the face to be eyes of the body, 
and the mouth the mouth of the body. V/hen he cre- 
ates bodi face and body as a whole, the face radiates 
so vital an expression of life that these portraits of 
women seem prophetic. 

The portraits of men are different. The essence of 
a man can be more easily imagined to be concentrated 
widiin the limits of his face; there are moments of 
calm and of inward excitement in vAiidi all life seems 
to have entered into his face. Rodin chooses or rather 
creates these moments when he models a man's por- 
trait. He searches far back for individuality or char- 
acter» does not yield to the first impression, nor to the 
second, nor to any of those following. He observes 
and makes notes; he records almost imnoticeable mo- 
ments, turnings and semi-turnings of many profiles from 
many perspectives. He surprises his model in relaxa- 
tion and in effort, in his habitual as well as in his im- 
pulsive expressions; he catches expres»ons which are 
but suggested. He comprehends transitions in all their 
phases, knows from whence the smile comes and why it 
fades. The face of man is to him like a scene in a 
drama in which he himself takes part. Nothing that 
occurs is indifferent to him or escapes him. He does 
not urge the model to tell him anything, he does not 

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wish to know aug^t save that which he sees. He sees 
everything. 

Thus a long time passes during the creation of each 
work. The concq>tion evolves partly through draw- 
ings, seized with a few strokes of the pen or a few 
lines of the brush, partly frcxn memory. For Rodin 
has trained his memory to be a means of assistance as 
dependable as it is comprehensive. During the hours 
in which the model poses he perceives much more than 
he can execute. Often after the model has left him 
the real work begins to take form from out the fulness 
of his memory. The impressions do not change within 
it but accustom themselves to thdr dwelling-place and 
rise from it into his hands as though they were the nat- 
ural gestures of these hands. 

This manner of work leads to an intense compre- 
hension of himdreds and hundreds of moments of life. 
And such is the impression produced by these busts. 
The many wide contrasts and the unexpected changes 
which comprise man and man's continuous development 
here join together with an inner strength. All the heis^ts 
and depths of being, all the climates of temperament 
of these men are concentrated and unfold themselves 
on the hemispheres of their heads. There is the bust 
of Dalou in whom a nervous fatigue vibrates side by 

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side with a tenacious energy. There is Henry Roche- 
fort's adventurous mask, and there is Octave Mirabeau 
in whom bdiind a man of action dawns a poet*s dream 
and longing, and Puvis de Chavannes, and Victor 
Hugo whom Rodin knows so well ; and there is above 
all the indescribably beautiful bronze portrait bust of 
the painter Jean Paul Laurens which is, perhaps, the 
most beautiful thing in the Luxembourg Museum. This 
bust is penetrated by such deep feeling, there is such 
tender modeling of the surface, it is so fine in carriage, 
so intense in expression, so moved and so awake that 
it seems as if Nature had taken this work out of the 
sculptor's hands to claim it as one of her most precious 
possessions. The gleam and sparkle of the metal that 
breaks like fire througjh the smoke-black patina coat- 
ing adds much to make perfect the unique beauty of 
this work. 

There is also a bust of Bastien Lepage, beautiful 
and melancholy with the expression of the suffering of 
the man whose realization is a continuous departure 
from his conception. This bust was executed for 
Damvillers, the little home village of the painter, and 
was placed there in the churchyard as a monument. 

In their breadth of conception these busts of Rodin's 
have something of the monumental in them. To this 

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quality is added a greater si]iq>lificatioii of the sur-- 
faces, and a still more severe choice of the necessary 
vdtfa a view to perspective and placement The monur 
ments which Rodin has created approach more and 
more these requirements. He began with the monu- 
ment of Claude Gelee for Nancy, and there is a ste^ 
ascent from this first interesting production to the grand- 
iose triumph of Balzac. 

Several of the monuments by Rodin were sent to 
America. The most mature of them was destroyed 
during the disturbances in Chile before it reached its 
destination. This was the equestrian statue of General 
Lynch. Like the lost masterpiece of Leonardo, which 
it resembled perhaps in the force of expression and in 
the wonderfully vital unity of man and borate, diis 
statue was not to be preserved. A small copy in 
plaster in Rodin's museum at Meudon diows that it 
was the plastic portrait of a lean man who rises com- 
mandingly in his saddle, not in the brutal, tyrannical 
manner of a condottiere but with the nervous excite- 
ment of one who exercises the power of command only 
in office but who is not ordinarily wont to use diis 
authority. The forward-pointing hand of the General 
rises out of die mass of the monument, out of man and 
animal. 

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This gesture of command gives to the statue of 
Victor Hugo its memorable power and majesty. The 
gesture of the aged man*s strong, live hand raised com- 
mandingly toward the ocean does not come from the 
poet alone but descends from the summit of the whole 
group as thousjh from a mountain on which it had 
prayed before it spoke. Victor Hugo is here the exile, 
the solitary of Guernsey. The muses that surround 
him are like thoughts of his solitude become visible. 
Rodin has conveyed this impression through the inten- 
sification and concentration of the figures about the 
poet By converging the points of contact Rodin has 
succeeded in creating the impression diat these wonder- 
fully vibrant figures are parts of the sitting man. They 
move about him like great gestures made some time 
during his life, gestures that were so beautiful and 
young that a goddess granted them the grace not to 
perish but to endure for ever in the forms of beautiful 
women. 

Rodin made sketches and studies of the figure of 
the poet. At the time of the receptions in the Hotel 
Lusignan he observed from a window and made notes 
of hundreds and hundreds of movements and of the 
changing expressions of the animated face of the old 
man. These preparations resulted in the several por- 
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traits of Hugo which Rodin modeled. The monu- 
ment itself embodied a still deeper interpretation. All 
these Mngle impressions he gathered together» and as 
Homer created a perfect poem out of many rhapsodies, 
so he created from all the pictures in his memory, diis 
one portrait And to this last picture he gave the 
greatness of the legendary. Myth-like it misjht return 
to a fantastically towering rock in the sea in whose 
strange forms far-removed peoples see life asleep. 

The most supreme instance of Rodin's power of 
exalting a past event to the height of the imperi^able, 
whenever historical subjects or forms demand to live 
again in his art, is found perhaps in **The Citizens of 
Calais.** The suggestion for this group was taken 
from a few passages in the chronicles of Froissart that 
tell the story of the City of Calais at the time it was 
besieged by the Elngli^ king, Edward the Third. The 
king, not willing to withdraw from the city, then on the 
verge of starvation, ultimately consents to release it if 
six of its most noble citizens deliver themselves into 
the hands **that he may do with them according to his 
will.** He demands that they leave the city bare- 
headed, clad only in their shirts, with a rope about 
their necks and the keys of the city and of the citadel 
in their hands. The chronicler describes the scene 

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in the city. He relates how the burgomaster, Messire 
Jean de Vienne, orders the bells to be rung and the 
citizens to assemble in the market place. They hear 
the final message and wait in expectation and in silence. 
Then heroes rise among them, the chosen ones, who 
feel the call to die. The wailing and weeping of the 
multitude rises from the words of the chronicler, who 
seems to be touched for the moment and to write with 
a trembling pen. But he composes himself once more 
and mentions four of the heroes by name; two of the 
names he forgets. He says that one man was the 
wealthiest citizen of the city and that another possessed 
authority and wealth and **had two beautiful maidens 
for daughters** ; of the third he only knows that he was 
rich in possessions and heritage, and of the fourth that 
he was the brother of the third. He reports that they 
removed all their clothing save their shirts, diat they 
tied ropes about their necks and thus departed with 
the keys of the city and of the citadel. He tells how 
they came to the King*s camp and of how hardhly the 
King received them and how the executioner stood 
beside them when the King, at the request of the 
Queen, gave them back their lives. **He listened to 
his wife,** says Froissart, **because die was very 
pregnant** The chronicle does not continue further. 

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For Rodin this was sufficient material. He felt 
immediately that there was a moment in this story 
^en something portentous took place, something inde- 
pendent of time and place, something simple, something 
great. He concentrated all his attention upon the 
moment of the departure. He saw how the men 
started on their way, he felt how through each one of 
them pulsated once more his entire past life, he realized 
how each one stood there prepared to give that life 
for the sake of the old city. Six men rose before him, 
of whom no two were alike, only two brothers were 
among them between whom there was, possibly, a cer- 
tain similarity. But each of them had resolved to live 
his last hour in his own way, to celebrate it with his 
soul and to suffer for it with his body, which clung to 
life. Rodin then no longer saw the forms of these 
men. Gestures rose before him, gestures of renuncia- 
tion, of farewell, of resignation. Gestures over 
gestures. He gathered them together and gave them 
form. They thronged about him out of the fulness of 
his knowledge, a hundred heroes rose in his memory 
and demanded to be sacrificed. And he concentrated 
this hundred into six. He modeled them each by him- 
self in heroic size to represent the greatness of their 

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resolution, modeled them nude in the appeal of their 
duvering bodies. 

He created die old man with loose-jointed hanging 
arms and heavy dragging step, and gave him the worn- 
out walk of old men and an expression of weariness 
that flows over his face into the beard. 

He created the man that carries the key, the man 
who would have lived for many years to come, but 
whose life is condensed into 'this sudden last hour 
which he can hardly bear. His lips are tightly pressed 
togethei:, his hands bite into the key. There is fire in 
his strength and it bums in his defiant bearmg. 

He created the man who holds his bent head with 
both hands to compose himself, to be once more alone. 

He created the two brothers, one of whom looks 
backward while the other bends his head with a move- 
ment of resolution and submission as though he offered 
it to the executioner. 

He created the man with the vague gesture whom 
Gustave Geffroy has called **Le Passant**. This man 
moves forward, but he turns back once more, not to 
the city, not to those who are weeping, and not to those 
who go with him: he turns back to himself. His rig^t 
arm is raised, bent, vacillating. His hands open in 
the air as thousjh to let something go, as one gives 

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freedom to a bird. This gesture is symbolic of a 
departure from all uncertainty, from a happiness that 
has not yet been, from a grief that will now wait in 
vain, from men who live somewhare and M^om he 
might have met some time, from all possSnlities of 
to-morrow and the day after to-morrow; and from 
Death which he had thought far distant, that he had 
imagined would come mildly and softly and at the end 
of a long, long time. 

This figure, if placed by itself in a dim, old garden, 
would be a monument for all who have died young. 

Thus Rodin has made each of these men live again 
the last concentrated moment of life. Each figure is 
majestic in its simple greatness. They bring to mind 
Donatello and, pohaps, Claux Sluter and his pro|Aets 
in the Chartreuse of Dijon. 

It seems at first as though Rodin had done nodiing 
more than gather them together. He has given them 
the same attire, the diirt and the rope, and has placed 
them together in two rows: the three that are in the 
first row, are about to start forward, the other three 
turn to the nfjtd and follow behind. The place thai 
was decided upon for the erection of the monument 
was the market place of Calais, the same qx>t from 
which the tragic procession had formerly started. 

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There the silent group was to stand, raised by a low 
step above the common life of the market place as 
though the fearful departure were always pending. 

The Gty of Calais refused to accept a low pedestal 
because it was contrary to custom. Rodin then sug- 
gested that a square tower, two stories hig^ and with 
simply-^ut walls, be built near the ocean and there the 
six dtizens should be placed, surrounded by die soli- 
tude of the wind and the sky. This plan, as mifl^ 
have been e3q[>ected, was declined, althousJi it was in 
harmony with the character of the work. If the trial 
had been made, there would have been an incom- 
parable opportunity for observing the unity of die 
groiq), which, although it consisted of sini^e figures^ 
held closely together as a whole. The figures do not 
touch one another, but stand side by side like the last 
trees of a hewn-down forest united only by the sur« 
rounding atmoq>here. From every point of view die 
gestures stand out clear and great from the dashing 
waves of the contours; they rise and fall back into the 
mass of stone like flags that are furled. The entire 
impression of diis group is precise and dear. Like all 
of Rodin's compositions, diis one, too, ai^ars to be 
a pulsating world enclosed within its own boundaries. 
Beside the points of actual contact there is a kind of 

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contact produced by die surrounding atmosphere M^iich 
dinimisfaes, influences and changes die character of die 
group. Q>ntact may exist between objects far distant 
from one anodier, like die conflux of forms such as one 
sees sometimes in masses of clouds, where the inter- 
jacent air is no sq>arating abyss, but radier a tranntion, 
a sofdy-graduated conjunction. 

To Rodin die pardcipation of die atmosphere in die 
conq;>osidon has always been of greatest importance. 
He has adapted all his figures, surface after surface, 
to didr particular q>ace and environment; this ^ves 
them the greatness and independence, die marvelous 
conq[>leteness and life ^ch distinguishes diem from 
all other works. When interpreting nature he found, 
as he intennfied an expression, diat, at die same time, 
he enhanced die relationship of the atmoq>here to his 
work to such a degree diat die surrounding air seemed 
to give more life, more passion, as it were, to die 
embraced surfaces. A similar effect may be observed 
in some of the animals on the cathedrals to which the 
air relates itself in strange fadiion; it seems to become 
calm or storm according to whether it sweeps over 
emphasized or level surfaces. When Rodin concen- 
trates the surfaces of his works into culminating pomts, 
when he uplifts to greater height die exalted or gives 

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more depth to a cavity, he creates an effect like that 
which atmosphere produces on monuments that have 
been exposed to it for centuries. The atmoq>here has 
traced deeper lines upon these monuments, has 
shadowed them with veils of dust, has seasoned them 
with rain and frost, with sun and storm, and has thus 
endowed them with endurance so that they may 
remain imperishable throus^ many slowly-passing 
dusks and dawn. 

This effect of atmosphere, which is the monumental 
principle of Rodin*s art, is wonderfully achieved in 
'*The Citizens of Calais." These sculptural forms 
seen from a distance are not only surrounded by the 
immediate atmoq)here, but by the whole sky; they 
catch on their surfaces as with a mirror its moving 
distances so that a great gesture seems to live and to 
force space to participate in its movement. 

This impression is conveyed also by the figure of 
the slender youth who kneels with outstretched, implor- 
ing arms. Rodin has called this figure ''The Prodigal 
Son,** but it has recently received die name — from 
whom or from whence no one knows — of "Friere". 
The gesture of this figure raises it even beyond this 
name. This is no son kneeling before his fadier. A 
God is necessary to him who thus implores and in him 

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are all who need diis God. This Prayer in stone 
readies out to such distance diat the figure seems to 
be wididrawn mto a great isolation. 

Such, too, is the **BaIzac** to whom Rodin has 
given a greatness which, perhaps, overtowers die figure 
of die writer. Rodin has seized upon the essence of 
Balzac*s bemg, has not confined himself to the limita« 
tions of his personality, but has gone beyond into his 
most extreme and distant possibilities. These mighty 
contours mis^t have been formed in the tombstones of 
by-gone nations. 

For years Rodin was entirely absorbed in this 
figure. He visited Balzac*s home, he went to the land- 
scapes of the Touraine that rise continually in Balzac*s 
books; he read his letters, he studied the portraits of 
Balzac and he read his works again and again. On 
all the intricate and intertwining roads of these works 
he was met by the people of Balzac, whole families 
and generations, a world that still seemed to receive 
life from its creator. Rodin saw that all these thou- 
sands of people, no matter what their occupation or 
dieir life, contained him who had created them. As 
one may perceive the character and the mood of a play 
dirous^ the faces of an audience, so he sought in all 
these faces him i^o still lived in them. He believed 

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Uke Balzac in the reality of his world and he became 
for a time a part of it. He lived as thous^ Balzac 
had created him also« and he dwelt unnoticed among 
the multitude of his people. Thus he gathered his 
impressions. The actual world appeared at this time 
vague and unimportant. The daguerreotypes of 
Balzac offered only gmeral suggestions and nothing 
new. The face ^ch they represented was the one 
he had known from boyhood days. The one that 
had been in the possession of Stephan Mallarme, which 
showed Balzac without coat and suspenders, was die 
only one which was more characteristic. Reminiscences 
of contemporaries helped him; the words of Theophile 
Gautier, the notes of the Gcmcourts, and the beautiful 
essay by Lamartine. Beside these pen portraits diere 
was only the bust by David in the Comedie Fran^aise 
and a small picture by Louis Boulanger. G>mpletely 
filled with the spirit of Balzac, Rodin, with the aid of 
these auxiliaries, began to model die figure of die 
writer. He used living models of similar proporti<ms 
and completed seven perfectly executed portraits in 
different positions. The models were thick-set, medium- 
sized men with heavy limbs and Aort arms. After 
these studies he created a Balzac much like the one in 
Nadar*s daguerreotype. But he felt this was not final. 

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He returned to the description of Lamartine, to the 
lines: **He had the face of an element«** and "he 
possessed so much soul that his heavy body seemed not 
to exist** Rodin felt that a great part of his task was 
suggested in these sentences. He approached nearer 
its solution by clothing the seven figures with monk*s 
cowls, the kind of garment that Balzac was wont to 
wear vAnle at work. He created a Balzac with a 
hood, a garb much too intimate, the figure much too 
retired into the stillness of its disguise. 

Rodin slowly developed form after form. At last 
he saw Balzac. He saw a mis^ty, striding figure that 
lost all its heaviness in the fall of its ample cloaL The 
hair bristled from the nape of the powerful neck. And 
backward against the thick locks leaned the face of a 
visionary in the intoxication of his dream, a face flash- 
ing with creative force: the face of an element This 
was Balzac in the fulness of his productivity, the 
founder of gmerations, the waster of fates. This was 
the man whose eyes were those of a seer, whose visions 
would have filled the world had it been enq>ty. This 
was the Balzac that Creation itself had formed to 
manifest itself and who was Creation's boastfulness, 
vanity, ecstasy and intoxication. The thrown-back 
head crowned the summit of this figure as lis^tly as a 

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ball is upheld by the spray of a fountain. There was 
no sense of weiset, but a magnificent vitality in the 
free, strong head. 

Rodin had seen in a moment of large comprehension 
and tragic exaggeration his Balzac and thus he created 
him. The vision did not fade, it only changed. 

The comprehensiveness which gave breadth to 
Rodin's monumental works gave to the others also a 
new beauty; it gave them a peculiar nearness. There 
are among the more recrat works small groups that are 
striking because of their concentration and the won- 
derful treatment of the marble. The stones preserve, 
even in the midst of the day, that mysterious shimmer 
yAücIi vAiite things exhale in the twili^t. This radi- 
ance is not the result of the vibrant quality of the points 
of contact alone, but is due in part to the flat ribbands 
of stone that lie between the figures like small bridges 
i^ich connect one form with the other over the deepest 
clefts in the modeling. These ribband fillings are not 
incidental, but are placed there to prevent too diarp 
an outline. They preserve in the forms that otherwise 
would appear too clear cut an effect of roundness; they 
gather the li^t like vases that gently and continuously 
overflow. When Rodin seeks to condense thelHtaos- 
phere about the surfaces of his works, the stone appears 

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to almost dissolve in die air, the maible is die compact, 
fruitful kernel, and its last softest contour die vibrating 
air. The lie^t touching die marble loses its will, it 
does not penetrate into the stone, but nestles close, 
lingers, dwells in the stone. 

This closing up of unessential clefts is an approach 
to the relief. Rodin planned a great work in relief 
in which there were to be effects of lig^t such at he 
achieved in the »nailer groups. He constructed a 
column about ^ch a broad ribband of relief winds 
upward. This encircling ribband conceals a staircase 
v4iich ascends under arched vaulting^. The figures in 
diis ascending relief are modeled and placed so as to 
receive an effect of life and vibrance from die atmos- 
phere and hs^ting. 

A plastic art will some time rise \^ch will disclose 
die secret of twilight as it is related to those sculptures 
diat stand in the vestibules of old cathedrals. 

This **Monument of Work** represents a history of 
work which develops upon these slowly rinng reliefs. 
The l<mg line begins in a lower chamber or crypt widi 
the figures of those who have grown old in mines. The 
procession traces its steps thronst all the phases of 
work, from those who work in the roar and red glow of 
furnaces to those who work in silence in the lig^t of a 

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great idea: from the hammers to the brains. Two 
figures guard the entrance. Day and Nig^t, and iqxm 
the summit of this tower stand two winged forms to 
symbolize the Blessmgs descending from the luminous 
heiglits. Rodin did not concme work as a monu- 
mental figure or a great gesture; for work is somethmg 
near, it takes place in the shops, in the rooms, in the 
heads, in the dark. 

He knows, for he, too, worked; he worked inces- 
santly; his life passed like a »ngle working day. 

Rodin had several studios, some diat are well-known 
in which visitors and letters found him. There were 
others in out-of-the-way, secluded places of which no 
one knew. These rooms were like cells, bare, poor 
and grey with dust, but their poverty was like the 
great, grey poverty of God out of \^ch trees bud in 
March. Something of the Spring was in each of these 
rooms, a silent promise and a deep seriousness. 

In one of these studios **The Tower of Work** has 
risen. Now that it is accomplished, it is time to speak 
of its significance. Some time after this monument has 
been erected it will be recognized that Rodin willed 
nothing that was beyond his art The body of work 
here manifests itself as did formerly the body of love: 
— ^it is a new revelation of life. This creator lived so 

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completely in his conceptions» so entirely in the d^ths 
of his work, that inspiration or revelation came to him 
only through the medium of his art New life in die 
ultimate sense meant to him, new surfaces, new ges- 
tures. Thus to him the meaning of life became sinq>le, 
he could err no more. 

With his own development Rodin has given an im- 
petus to all the arts in this confused age. Some time it 
will be realized i^at has made this great artist so 
supreme. He was a worker whose only desire was to 
penetrate with all his forces into the humble and diffi- 
cult significance of his tools. Therdn lay a certain 
renunciation of Life, but in just diis renunciation lay 
his triumph, for Life entered into his work. 



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